With “The Merge” phase completed, the blockchain community is now paying attention to the next milestone of Ethereum’s roadmap, namely the “Sharding.”
It’s an upgrade to improve the scalability of the Ethereum network. Before diving into how the number one blockchain will realize it, let’s unravel some basics of blockchain sharding.
The blockchain trilemma
There are three elements a blockchain must have: decentralization, security, and scalability.
Decentralization refers to shifting the control from central authorities to people around the world who can use their computer nodes to govern.
The security is related to the fact that blockchain is not necessarily 100% secure. Anyone who controls at least 51% of the network can manipulate transactions.
The scalability of a blockchain indicates how much a network can grow while keeping the same level of transaction speed.
The blockchain trilemma states that we can only have two of these three elements simultaneously. In any case, we’ll have to forgo one of them.
In the case of Bitcoin, for example, network participants run a full node that verifies every transaction; as a result, we have a secure and decentralized blockchain. But, since transactions run linearly and require confirmation by a large number of nodes, it’s not scalable.
On the other hand, the high transaction per speed (TPS) chains depend on a small number of nodes that must reach a consensus among themselves. An example is the delegated proof-of-work consensus used by the WAX blockchain. This method is secure and scalable; however, it’s not decentralized.
So, what’s scalable and decentralized at the same time? A multi-chain ecosystem can be a solution to this. Here, cross-chain protocols communicate with each other to increase scalability; however, bridges used for communication are prone to hacks. So, this method may be insecure.
Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin claims that sharding can achieve all three simultaneously.
Sharding means splitting a blockchain’s computational load into smaller…